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60 Days
A Spiritual Guide to the High Holidays

Date: 2007-09-03 12:46
Subject: Elul 17 - "Returning to our Divine Essence"
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Ask Yourself:  Can you recall a time when you were willing to sacrifice something precious in order to win forgiveness for a wrong you had committed?  Can you recall a time when you felt this strongly about reconciling with someone you love?
Yes...but it's private.

Exercise for the day:Describe how far you would be willing to go to wintotal forgiveness from your beloved.
Find an area in yuor life which you gave up on and makea  move to repair the situation with absolute determination.  Do something, do anything - never resign yourself.

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Date: 2007-09-03 12:40
Subject: Elul 16 - "A Time of Refuge"
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Ask yourself: Have you made Elul a time of introspection in the past?  How is this Elul different for you?
Pretty simple.  Last year I read this book.  This year I'm doing the journal.
Exercise for the day: Dedicate some of your vacation time for spiritual introspection, making the most of the opportunity that this Elul offers.  Sincerely express to G-d yuor desire to return to your Divine Mission.  INtensify your intention when reciting Psalm 27 this month.
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Date: 2007-09-03 12:32
Subject: Elul 15 - "Facing Yourself"
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"You are what you see.  And you see what you are."

Ask Yourself: Are you cynical about the holiness of others?  Do you see the goodness around you?  When confronted with a behavior that yu dislike are you able to see the same flaw, in some form, in yourself?
There are a lot of very mean things that I think but don't say.  They are usually superficial and judgemental.  I think that really comes down to the fact that I'm insecure and afraid that everyone I see is constantly judging me.  I delight in being able to identify the holiness and goodness in others and take great joy in the company of those who exude qualities I hope to emulate.  This reminds me of the entry about needing an advisor.  I should call her.
Exercise for the day: Of the events of the past day, select a positive experience and identify how the goodness you encountered is embodied in you.
Of the events of th past day, select a negative experience adn identify how this reflects negative characteristic that you possess.

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Date: 2007-09-03 11:47
Subject: Elul 14 - "Unmasking the Soul"
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Ask yourself: If the Ari was walking the earth today, would you want him to see your face?  Would you be ashamed to?  To what extent is yoru face a mask for feelings you want to hide?  To what extent does it reveal your inner core of holiness?
Our goal, of course, you should be to want to answer the first question "yes".  In fact, the whole reason I am doing this journal publicly is to obliterate the mask and make all of my actions and every part of my life and who I am something I can be proud of.  If I can't face my friends, how can I face HaShem?  Maybe I'm a step ahead because, hard as I try, it's nearly impossible for me to hide my emotions with my face or my voice.
Exercise for the day:As you interact with people today be conscious of what your face projects and to what extent it is an expression of your inner self.
At least once during the day try to feel a connection to the holiness inside and let it shine on your face.
Make a special attempt to smile to people today
(I always do this and in New York, that means I look crazy.).  Remember that everything is projection and reflection - your smile elicits a smile, etc.

Only a week behind, I can do this.

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Date: 2007-08-30 20:09
Subject: Elul 13 - "Inner Holiness"
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Ask yourself:Are you able to recognize your inner holiness?  Is your spiritual path helping your or hindering you?  Are you able to balance you spiritual and your social life?  Do you live/weork in an environment whiche respects holiness?  Are you able to reveal the things you hold sacred in this environment?
It's not the recognizing that's a problem, it's my own disciline and getting on the path, you know? My path would help me a lot more if I could stay on it.  Thank G-d I live in an environment that's built around my spiritual life.

Exercise for the day: To be continued...

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Date: 2007-08-30 20:08
Subject: Elul 12 - "Relating to G-d"
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Ask Yourself:Do you want to connect to the Divine Image within you?  IS being holy a goal in your life?  How often do your actions approach holiness?
  Every day and every moment we have the option of making what we do Holy or mundane.  My goal should be to make everything I do Holy.  That's why we have blessings over things we need to do anyway - eating and using the restroom.  
Exercise for the day: Consider what it would take for you to connect withthe part of you that is holy.  DO something Holy today.
It's the fact that everything is Holy that amazes me about Yiddishkeit.  I should focus more on the things that could be mundane, I think those are the easiest to overlook. 
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Date: 2007-08-27 20:58
Subject: Elu 11 - "Focusing on your Destination"
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AskYourself: Do you have a real focus in your life?  Do you have a larger goal?
My maon focus and goal is to be a good mother to my son and a good wife to my husband.


Exercise for the day: Identify your personal mission in life (oh is that all?).  What doyou believe is your calling in this world?
If you have difficulty with this, identify the steps you must take to discover your mission.
This is actually the easiest one yet.  My mission in life is to raise a happy, healthy, Chassidische kid.
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Date: 2007-08-27 10:47
Subject: Elul 10 - "Letting Go and Diving In"
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I don't even want to talk about how behind I am.  I didn't even know what day it is, I had to check.  Not even Hebrew date, like I wasn't sure it's Monday.  Anyway, I'm trying.
Ask Yourself:  Do you have a mentor who pushes you from time to time?  If not, do you know someone who you could trust to do so with wisdom and care?
It's funny because today's passage mentions "We find ourselves standing at the edge of the pool and counting to ten, then twenty, then to fifty...and never getting up the courage to just jump." - which is exactly how I've approached aquiring a mentor.  I've had a mentor crush forever and have had several *amazing* conversations with her but I've never asked her to go steady.  I really should.

Exercise for the day: (Stop wanted to spell it "Excercise") Identify an area from the work of Elul you have done so far wher eyou would benefit from the friendly push of a mentor.
I'd like your suggestions on this one, dear friends.

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Date: 2007-08-23 14:04
Subject: Elul 9 - "Seeing G-d"
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"G-d said to Moses, in effect, 'You will see Me when you stop looking. You will see Me when you get your self out of the way.'"
Ask Yourself: How often can you get your self out of the way to achieve a higher goal?  Do you "see" G-d in your life?  Have you learned to see by not looking?
This is such a complex question.  I feel like examples of this could go either way -   I put my self aside because I stayed up late to clean.  Or I put my self aside because I let go of my pride and realized the floors could wait, I needed to rest.  
Could you guys offer some input on this?

Exercise for the day:  Recall an event in your life when you were able to gain something by letting go. Examine the process - how did you get yourself out of the way in order to make it happen?
There is an event, but it's kind of private, but I see where letting go and giving it into HaShem's hands basically gave me the greatest joy of my entire life.  It had to be on a schedule, though.  Like, at point X, it will be up to Him.  Until then, it's up to me. I like it better being up to Him, though.
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Date: 2007-08-23 13:57
Subject: Elul 8 - "Taking initiative"
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Ask Yourself: How often do you take the intiative in your life?  How often do you take the intiative in your relationship with your beloved? And with G-d?
I think this identifies one of my greatest flaws - I very rarely take initiative.  Whether it's fear of failure or what, I give up before I start.  With Hubby maybe notsomuch, but with everythng else yeah.  First step is admitting the problem, right?
Exercise for the day: find a new way today to express your love to your beloved.  Don't wiat - initiate something beautiful.  
Find a new way today to express your love for G-d by doing someting that G-d wants of you. 

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September 2007